An Enigmatic Flounder
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Jan Cox Talk 2534 – June 5, 2000
Notes by DC
Suggested Title: An Enigmatic Flounder
[Initial difficulty with taping]
00:14 (to test the mic) And so, as soon as we left Prague a telegram caught up with us.
00:34 This would sound like a mystical tape.
00:47 What’s the problem? [Technician begins answering] Oh no, you’re not supposed to answer that…
01:49 …one supposedly Zen sage came to see another one. When he walked in, he held up his fan and the other guy held up a hammer. The first guy left and he came back the next day and he said, “What was the meaning of that yesterday that we went through?” And the other guy laid down and took a nap and the first guy smiled and left. And the guy telling the story then says, “What do you make of that?” It’s the coming in and the going out. That’s all we do: come in, and go out. And only the enlightened know what’s going on.
02:51 Are we actually on? What’s the problem? [Someone answers] See? I knew if I kept asking they’d give in.
03:16 Are we on? What’s the problem?
03:21 Page 11:…At one school was posted the stages you might expect to go through: “At first, you are confused and fidgety. Then you become less confused and less fidgety. Then you have your enlightenment and generally speaking are no longer confused and are much less fidgety, to the point of calm, even. But if you press on past this stage, and seek enlightenment about the nature of enlightenment, there is the possibility of becoming fidgety all over again. It’s hard to explain,” the note goes on, “you just have to see for yourself.”
04:21 Are we on?
04:26 In comparing the two possibilities of either “knowing self or not knowing self,” the benefit of the latter is you never realize how stupid you’ve been up till now.
05:00 …That’s the problem: everybody on the planet knows just a little bit…just enough to make you fidgety and confused…that should say, “…in the belief that you’re confused,” which is the same thing as being confused, but it is a belief, because it’s not possible to be confused. The only way you could be confused is if you’re here in this universe and you actually were intended to be in another one, if there is one.
05:58 That’s all being asleep is, is being mistakenly under the assumption that you’re confused….which is a variation from Friday…”What is man?”…a robot that’s been programmed to believe that it’s otherwise.
07:33 Page 13 or 10: Answer this: what is the difference in these two pleasures? First, the pleasure a composer experiences when he completes a beautiful work…What’s the difference between that and the pleasure a musician later experiences when he learns to play the work?
08:30 What is the difference here, and how might the question be applicable in a man’s search to awaken and overcome, somehow, some aspect of his own nature? Or, how might this apply to reading someone else’s song about how to awaken compared to you composing your own?
09:06 To see this matter through to your personal satisfaction, three things are necessary…belief, suspicion and determination.
10:02 Do you realize that anyone who’s ever talked about…what all this is about…didn’t know what they were talking about?
10:48 That’s what I like about showing up here. Even if I felt dazed and distracted, tending to sleep during the day, least on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I can think, “Well, that’s nothing. I got 8:15 to look forward to.”
11:18 The Headline: The matter of captivity fully explained. As soon as you agree with any idea you have been bound hand and foot.
12:15 As far as words go, just the opposite of that is true. Except you’ve got to understand what the complete opposite of that is. If you can agree with every idea you ever hear, you’re free.
That’s right: think about it. Like, “Do I agree with that?”
12:45 Just think about it. Six billion people on this planet believe right now they’re free, have free will, free minds and a handful of us…sitting here and we know better, and what good did it do us?…But if you were a robot…
16:12 Remember, anything you ever hear that sounds like it’s good for awakening, no matter if it’s involved with Buddha and 5000 people, or one guy and a robot, or a guy and two dogs and a nun, if whatever the story was — or a man and 3000 people and 4 fishes — whatever the story was and you thought, “That is good for awakening…there’s a lesson there.” If you can’t take that story and set it alone in a room and the whole thing make perfect sense, then you didn’t get anything.
17:03 Page 16 or 8. Then someone said…as soon as you agree with any idea, then you have been bound hand and foot. And then someone said, “In that case, if you disagree with all ideas you hear then you will never be bound and captured; am I not correct?” he asked.
17:41 One provisional approach is to not consider that you struggle against all thought, but only against emotional thoughts, those having to do with what seems to be your personal preferences. Ha, ha. What a joke. You don’t find it funny after the last week?
19:48 Page 16. And a man declared, “Words are nothing but words.” To which a mystic countered, “Except when a mystic says them.” Which startled the man into momentary silence, after which he asked the mystic, “Is that true?” The mystic replied, “Would I speak to you on such an important matter and lie to you?”
20:25 Take a quiz. If you hear man A insult man B what do you think occurred?…why didn’t you consider that it was your own thinking that caused it all?
22>54 If we were programmed, had no freedom whatsoever, and part of the programming was that we would be unaware of it, how should it be phrased? That we wouldn’t see it, or that we wouldn’t admit it?
23:25 Do you realize that you could do almost everything that mystics claim they want to do…if you would only admit everything?
24:10 …all this stuff having to do with relations between humans, I say…if it has to do with behavior, if it involves you and another person, you can always count on this from my view, that that is a poor reflection of something else.
25:25 For you people on tape, I just realized this crowd here has been programmed to react to certain comments. I’ve just caught on. Don’t let them hear me; that’s why I’m talking softly…
25:55 Why do you still believe that you see a distinction between in here and out there?
28:31 Page 19. By comparing the importance of feeling to thinking in your moment-to-moment existence, there is no comparison. Thought does not begin to compare with feeling in its importance in your life. And does anyone…expect their thoughts to ever point this out?
29:00 The reason that men love to read the words of others regarding how to recognize self is because no one can do it for himself.
30:24 “I’m just mulling over what’s occurring in life; my mind is not causing it.”…that’s what you call ‘not admitting it’.
30:53 Here’s a make-up quiz: If you set out to ‘find yourself’ where should you look?
31:14 Since people don’t say what they think when they say what they think, but rather what they feel, once you realize this, even if they probably don’t, you’re free from yet another endless entanglement.
31:46 Once you realize that, and you realize that they don’t, then if you can hold it that’s when untoward, unjust occurrences are quite favorable to be right in the middle of something that your programming wants you to respond to, and you don’t. That’s almost better than a middle-class satori. That you realize that whatever someone’s telling you that the words mean nothing…they’re telling you how they feel; they’re not telling you what they think. The only exception to this..would be, I guess, a deranged mathematician.
33:15 The kind of guy who’s ultimately going to get somewhere with all of this is the kind of guy who would say, “If I want to study a really good mystical system I’ll make one up.”
33:29 There’s nothing so trivial, so unimportant that it cannot be either said or put into writing.
33:56 All problems and unsolved mysteries that beset an investigator are home grown. They come from his own house.
34:08 I almost started a mystical system years ago on that one basis, that everyone who starts this, without any doubt…they feel as though they’re involved in a great mystery. They have now stepped onto the path that will lead them to unravelling the great mystery. But they see life as being a great ball of confusion and they see waking up, achieving enlightenment…as being the solution…but everything a person doesn’t know…is home grown. There is no mystery out there.
35:34 Of course, I finally realized — didn’t take me long — that is not the way to — even if I had more than a couple loaves of bread and fishes, I couldn’t even stir up a couple hundred people. I wouldn’t have to worry about feeding any more. Tell people, “There’s no great mystery out there,” they’d go, “Aw, crap! We’re going somewhere else.”
35:55 But see, even the idea of the mystery is in you to start with…I’m sure Winston Churchill must have stolen this from some Zennist: The Great Secret Work is “a mystery within a puzzle wrapped in an enigma.”
36:28 That’s the way it seems. That it must be studied…[asks about “Truth is in here included on web page by Calvin]
37:07 It takes away all the glamour. And you’ve got to find it out for yourself. You can hear it over and over and over, and I read it for thirty or forty years. I didn’t even notice it, I read it so many times….But to tell somebody that, “Everything you don’t know, the whole mystery of all of this is in you,” there is no glamour in that….if that was your entré…your introduction…from whatever source you heard that, that would not have been the source you pursued.
38:01 Fake mystics, in one sense, have a lot more fun with this than real ones do….BUT…you’re a fake mystic until you become a real one, so you have all those years that you’ve enjoyed it.
38:58 Play me another barge about a country song. Can you agree with that; can you admit that?
39:09 For a man seeking the goal, all of life seems to be a preparation for life. Question: Is this, or is this not a proper approach? Or, Question: Is this a question that you’re up to considering?
39:52 Trying to awaken, trying to get to the bottom of things, trying to discover the secret in one real sense is living your life preparing to live life.
40:10 Now since at least all of you people that I know…are not complete crackpots…giving up good food and sex and going into a monastery…should a man live a large part…of his life preparing to live his life?
42:20 You can admit you’re wrong, but when you do so, you’re incorrect.
42:28 …when you have the — as they used to call it — the big satori…and your head is cleared out, it’s ridiculous all ideas like in some way something could be wrong.
44:21 It’s staggering to look out…and realize you just had that thought:…”There are things going on that I just can’t agree with.” And, of course, fake mystics, they think that’s one reasons they’re trying to awaken: “…maybe if I can awaken, then I can help other people straighten this out.”
44:43 A robot who’s been programmed to read page 25…For a man seeking our goal…all of life seems to be a preparation for life.
46:49 You’re preparing to live…but with mystics it has a hidden captiousness to it.
47:35 “At least now I’m aware of it.”
47:58 If you’re the little train that thinks you could, you’re blowing smoke up your own caboose.
48:10 It’s funny, but I don’t find it funny when I do it to me, so…
48:13 You can’t be more awake than right this second.
49:07 Page 26. One man limited his daydreams to these two areas: empty skies and mathematics. …try it.
50:14 Every now and then, years ago, when I used to talk to people on a more loose basis…I would offer something like that to somebody…and while standing there…and they’d look like they’d been hit by an enigmatic flounder…I could see them become more and more agitated…I can remember when I could make me mad like that. Is that progress?
52:54 This was sort of leading up to something else…you should take a good night like tonight and go home…and immediately write a good lengthy essay and recollection of exactly everything I said and what you thought of it and what you got out of it, smooth the paper out real nice, and file it away. It’s very important. Well, it could be.
53:55 You know when you’ve really got it and you don’t have to be in a Zen story? Now I’ve got to put it in words and ruin it, but it’s when a person…it finally hits you: “I don’t get any of this.” You’d be awake. Unless you said it, you know, even to yourself.
54:47 What was I trying to ask you, begging you…is to ask yourself…”What IS this?” “What is this whole thing about wanting to awaken?”
55:07 Everybody gets a little bit; that’s why you’re still asleep. As long as you get any part of it, you can’t get free of it.
55:21 Well, in fact I’ve told you guys — I shouldn’t do things like this to you — but I’ve told you guys…probably understand more of what’s going on in all this than 99% or more of all the full-time mystics with turbans and shit painted on their heads and magic wands in monasteries…I could say that, and so what?
56:44 “I understand almost everything, but there’s some part that I still don’t get.” See, that’s the problem.
57:00 If you could reach the point that it hit you, “I don’t get any of it” — see, because if you get a small piece of it, you’re in prison…
01:00:15 Remember…I used to call them ‘mini strokes’. And there you stand and you think, “I don’t understand any of this.”